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Living in Portugal – Hospitals and Health Care Centres
The Portuguese health care system and health care facilities have undergone major improvements over the last ten years. Nowadays, Portugal has a rather high quality of health care to offer. If you are considering moving to Portugal, whether to live, work, or retire here, we consider it important that you are familiar with our health care system.
The Portuguese Hospitals and Health Care Centres
In addition to public health care system and hospitals that provide medical care for free, Portugal also has a very reliable network of private health care systems and privately-owned hospitals. Private clinics are generally concentrated in metropolitan areas, as are publicly-funded emergency facilities that are open and provide 24-hour service.
Private clinics can also be found in many of the resorts in Portugal, while the two of the major Portuguese cities, Porto and Lisbon, also host a large number of British hospitals.
Most areas in Portugal have state-run health care centres, also known as “centros de saúde” in Portuguese. These centres are often a better option than public hospitals for those who require an immediate emergency medical treatment, and most of them are open from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening.
With most of the Portuguese doctors speaking fluent English, and a large number of British and other foreign doctors practicing their expertise in the Portuguese resort and major city areas, language barriers should not be a problem. It is not uncommon for these doctors to advertise their services in the local newspapers geared towards expatriates.
Pharmacies in Portugal
For non-perscription medicine and free advice for minor ailments, the local pharmacies, or “farmácias” in Portuguese, are ideal, and are always staffed by qualified chemists. Most pharmacies in Portugal are open from 9 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon, or between 3 in the morning and 7 in the evening. Every pharmacy in Portugal displays a sign in its window that gives the address of the nearest all-night pharmacy, and provides a list of nearby pharmacies that close late, usually at around 10 in the evening.